My wife drives a 2011 Ford Fiesta. The car has 24K miles and is still under warranty. The car was always serviced at Ford dealers except for the last time. Three weeks ago and 800 miles prior to failure, the engine oil was changed at one of the big tire brand places. After that the car did smell a little funny inside the cabin and I thought is was because how unclean my wife keeps the interiors.
Last week when my wife was driving to work, the car started to steam up on the inside and died after a few miles. There was no indication of overheating or low oil pressure in the dash when it started steaming. However, the check engine light and oil pressure warning came on just a few seconds before the car died. I asked my wife to call Ford’s roadside assistance and wait till I got there. When I got there, I opened up the hood and found that the engine coolant filler cap and brake fluid reservoir cap were missing. I checked the engine oil level using the dip stick and it showed full.
I called the oil change guy and told him what I found and he asked me to get the car towed to his shop instead. The car was towed to the oil change guy and after inspection he said that the engine is toast. He also said that the thermostat housing and the radiator werecracked and this is what led to the coolant leak. The engine failure had nothing to do with the missing coolant reservoir cap.
Then I got the car towed to the nearest Ford dealer to get their opinion. After inspection the Ford dealer confirmed the cracked thermostat housing but said that the missing coolant reservoir cap led to overheating of the engine. And the cracked thermostat housing was a result of overheating engine.
I am trying to figure out who is liable for the damaged engine. Since the car is under warranty it is either Ford’s or the oil change guys liability. What led to the engine failure? Could a missing coolant filler cap lead to evaporation of coolant and finally overheating the engine to failure. Any help would be appreciated.